East Rutherford, NJ. Lung cancer survivors Abraham Almanza and Kathy O’Brien will join NFL Ambassador Chris Draft in the Commissioner Goodell’s suite for Monday Night Football. The survivors will watch the New York Giants take on the Indianapolis Colts, in the first November Monday Night game on the season.
In 1998, I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of 15. I would later turn 16 in the hospital not knowing if I would live to see my 17th birthday.
Kathy O’Brien of Westfield, New Jersey, thought her eyes were playing tricks on her. She was driving her three kids to school two years ago when she noticed that the stop sign was blurry. Her eye doctor sent her to a retina specialist, who spotted six tumors in her left eye and four in her right. The next day — after a battery of tests including an MRI and a CT scan — Kathy was in an oncologist’s office, blindsided by news that was beyond shocking: She had stage IV lung cancer. “Never in a million years did I think I’d hear something like that,” says Kathy, who had recently run her fifth marathon and had become certified as a Bar Method exercise instructor. “It seemed impossible because I had never smoked.”
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. In 2012, Team Draft marked the occasion by launching our inaugural Survivor at Every Stadium initiative on CNN during a nationally-televised prime time special focusing on lung cancer and our National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer.
Leveraging our connections with the NFL, its teams and players and our relationships with many of the top cancer centers in the country, we arranged to have lung cancer survivors attend games at NFL stadiums across the country during the last two months of the 2012-2013 season. By the time the initiative concluded at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, more than 30 lung cancer survivors representing 30 cancer centers and nearly every NFL team had participated. Given the overwhelming success of our Survivor at Every Stadium initiative, we have expanded it beyond the NFL to the NBA, the NHL and MLS—and this year, London, UK! As part of our National Campaign, this celebration of survivorship raises lung cancer awareness, gives hope to those battling the disease, and shines a light on the important work being done at cancer research and treatment centers around the country.
Team Draft’s goals are to create a unique experience for participating survivors and to raise awareness on a local, national, and international level by using each game and each survivor’s story to weave a broader narrative about the state of cancer and the hope that now exists for those battling the disease.
Special thanks to the NFL, New York Giants, Sloan-Kettering and Commissioner Goodell and our Team Draft’s supporters for helping make this experience possible.
Donate now to Support the National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer! www.teamdraft.org